Celebrity Cruises chef John Suley holds two high profile events for New York gourmets
Celebrity Cruises' chef John Suley
This month, Celebrity cruises into New York City with a series of events designed to give the Big Apple a taste of the cuisine served up on its fleet of luxury cruise ships.
The program kicked off on October 10th with a discussion of health food trends in luxury dining moderated by Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Corwin and continued on October 12th with “A Taste of Modern Luxury,” a gala dinner at The James Beard House featuring dishes created by Celebrity’s Director of Culinary Operations John Suley with specialty drinks devised by master mixologist Junior Merino, popularly known as The Liquid Chef. This coming week, Celebrity’s culinary and wine program becomes part of the 2013 Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, with wine seminars and tastings as well as a Grand Tasting that will focus on the Celebrity’s Lawn Club Grill, an innovative hands-on dining venue located alongside the half acre of real grass featured aboard the line’s Solstice-class ships.
Last night, cruisemates.com joined representatives of publications like Town & Country and The New York Times, James Beard Foundation members and other passionate foodies as Chef John Suley showcased favorite Celebrity dishes as well as new creations against the elegant backdrop of the former Greenwich Village townhouse of celebrated cookbook author and television personality, James Beard.
The evening began in the property’s lovely outdoor garden with master mixologist Junior Merino and his team manning the bar, offering guests a choice of unlimited French champagne or Spiced Mules, the latter, a heady Merino creation containing vodka, ginger beer, cardamom and allspice. Soon, waiters appeared, bearing whimsically-presented hors d’oeuvres that included yogurt-goat cheese panna cotta in mini lidded mason jars; kumamoto oysters, each atop its own oversized ice cube, delectable roasted pork belly-stuffed baby baked apples and tuna tartare encased in taco shell-like sesame crostini.
About an hour after we had started sipping our Spiced Mules and savoring our tuna tartare, the sun had set and the unseasonably warm New York day turned chilly—the perfect time to see the amber lighting of the 19th century townhouse blink three times to summon us into the elegant dining room and the beginning of Chef Suley’s seven-course extravaganza, each course complimented beautifully by a luscious wine selected by Chanelle Duarte, Suley’s wife and Celebrity Cruises’ Beverage Development Consultant.
Chef Suley, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, is a James Beard-nominated Master Chef and, in 2007, was named “Rising Star Chef American Cuisine.” Prior to joining Celebrity, he worked alongside some of the leading chefs in the world, including Daniel Bouloud, and served as executive chef at premier establishments, including Alfred Portale’s famed Gotham Bar & Grill in New York and Gotham Steak at the Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami. In 2012, Suley and his corporate chefs became the first cruise line team to cook dinner at the legendary James Beard House in New York making last night’s event a triumphant return to the prestigious venue.
And a triumph it was as guests, perfectly sated after a feast that included Maine lobster salad, a velvety Jerusalem artichoke veloute, handmade ricotta cavatelli with wild mushrooms and white truffles, halibut, pork tenderloin and a decadent dessert of Valrhona cocoa cake, chocolate mousse, peanut butter cream brulee and salted caramel ice cream, enthusiastically applauded Suley and his team for a very memorable and delicious evening.
But it wasn’t until we reached the door that we discovered the final delight of the event: A signed copy of Excite the Senses: A Culinary Journey with Celebrity Cruises presented to each attendee. This 400-page hard cover book is an inspired collection of recipes featured in each of Celebrity’s on board restaurants: The perfect way for each guest to create their own taste of modern luxury or be inspired to sail Celebrity Cruises and let Chef Suley create it for them.